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Atiku, Wike Meet As PDP Begins Reconciliation

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About two months after the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, aggrieved Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday met behind closed doors in Abuja.

Although the details of the meeting were still sketchy as of the time of this report, sources in the PDP said the meeting between Atiku and Wike was held at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Prof. Jerry Gana, signalling what observers believed were reconciliatory moves to pacify the governor.

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The source said, “Atiku and Wike met this (Thursday afternoon) at the residence of Jerry Gana. It was a good meeting, from what I gathered.

“They exchange pleasantries and they have resolved to move the reconciliation to the next stage.”

Asked if we can assume that Wike and Atiku have settled, the source said, “they have started the process; this started with a one-on-one interface.

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READ ALSO: PDP Set To Meet Wike, Other Aggrieved Members

“This will lead to a certain level and they can now resolve all the issues.”

The source also said discussions were still ongoing about the choice of Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation.

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When contacted, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, declined comment.

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APC Has Ruined Nigeria – Ex-minister

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Former minister of Sports and Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to vote out the All Progressive Congress in the 2023 elections, saying that the present ruling party has ruined the nation.

The ex-minister said the 2023 general elections offer Nigerians another historic opportunity to make Nigeria work again.

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He stated that the dream of making Nigeria great could only be achieved if citizens, through the elections, chased away politicians in the fold of APC.

Abdullahi, Kwara central senatorial candidate of the PDP, in the forthcoming general election expressed this while featuring at the 33rd edition of the ‘Media Parliament’ of the Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Ilorin.

He spoke on ‘Retooling Nigeria For the Task Ahead’.

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READ ALSO: N’Central APC Members Protest Muslim-Muslim Ticket, Reject Lalong

Abdullahi said, “The APC government has brought this nation to its kneels. All the things we thought could not happened had happened in the last seven years. There is no way we can exonerate APC from the problems of this country.

“APC has ruined this country. Nigerians should say no to any politician seeking elective office under APC. 2023 presents historic opportunity to make Nigeria work again.

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“Every Nigerian lives in fear today because of the problems of insecurity and poverty. The poorest of the poor are 90 million in Nigeria today. But we seem not to understand the magnitude of the problem facing us. We carry on as if all is well. We are treating cancer with wrapping bandage on it.”

Abdullahi also traced Nigeria’s problem to 1966 when the nation had its first coup plot, said that no nation can have peace without justice.

He added, “After the civil war our leaders ought to realise that the Nigeria that the British gave us could not work. We should have restructured the country then.

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“Another opportunity we missed to make Nigeria a real nation was the annulment of June 12. We diagnosed the issue as if it was a Yoruba problem and decided to make one of them a president in 1999. We had a lot of opportunities in June 12 debacle but we bungled them.”

Speaking on the lingering ASUU strike, the former Minister called for an urgent resolution to save the nation’s education sector from total collapse.

According to him the issue in contention should be resolved amicably to enable students resume academic activities.

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He expressed worry over the security challenges in the country, adding that all hands must be on deck to bring a lasting solution to the problem.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Nephew Dumps APC After Reportedly Meeting Atiku

Abdullahi also urged the youths to contribute their quota to ensure better development of the country.

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Earlier in his address of welcome the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists Kwara state Council, Ahmed Abdulateef, called for the collaboration of all stakeholders to make the country better.

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Tension Mounts In PDP As Crisis Worsens; Elders Weigh Options

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Bode Gorge, Others Call For Ayu’s Resignation

Amid tensions, some elders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, intervened in the crisis rocking the party by giving approval for the constitution of the presidential campaign council.

Vanguard gathered that while some PDP leaders are pushing for the party to wield the big stick against those engaged in anti-party activities, other leaders are more favourably disposed to ongoing reconciliatory efforts.

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It was learned in Abuja yesterday that the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and other organs of the party, including the National Working Committee, NWC, the Caucus and the Board of Trustees, BoT, have agreed to go ahead with the constitution of the party’s presidential campaign council.

This came on a day former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, urged the PDP National Chair-man, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to honourably resign.

George, however, urged Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State not to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, despite misgivings over the choice of running mate to the PDP presidential candidate.

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Party elders wade in, mull options

A top ranking member of the party, who is familiar with the issue but elected to speak in confidence, said: “We held a major consultative meeting on Tuesday and I can assure you that the membership of the council will be announced in the next two weeks.

READ ALSO: PDP Crisis: Party Elders Wade In, Mull Options

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“Campaigns start next month; we want to be up and running before this happens. We have been reaching out to our members nationwide, including our respected leaders in Rivers State.

“Details of our next steps are being worked out. You know the PDP, being a very large family, has a lot of tendencies and individuals and groups have egos that require massaging. We are doing that.

“There are those pushing for us to wield the big stick but the majority are more favourably disposed to ongoing reconciliatory efforts because we are in opposition; we need everyone more than the ruling party.”

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Another party leader, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, said: “The PDP has dealt with bigger challenges; this one too has come and it will go. Governor Wike, whose name is being mentioned anytime our current challenges are cited, is a party man, he has said it himself.

“He has other party leaders who respect him and look up to him to protect their political interests. Whatsoever those interests may be, he feels an obligation to protect those who stuck out their necks for him during his bid for the ticket.

“It is the pursuit of this that has delayed us till now but we must make progress; we have an election to win and there will be positions of responsibilities to be given out. It is the patience component that is the issue at the moment.”

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Substantial progress is being made — Atiku’s camp

When contacted, Mazi Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said: “Substantial progress is being made with regards to resolving outstanding issues. My principal has assured the party and all members that everyone will be carried along. That commitment has not changed.”

We’ll resolve crisis soon—PDP leader

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Also speaking, a top PDP leader told Vanguard that leaders are making moves to resolve the crisis.

The PDP leader, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are making efforts to resolve the crisis.

All I know is that Wike will not leave the party. As regards inviting APC leaders to commission projects in his state, he has said it before that he would invite leaders across party lines to commission projects in Rivers. I can assure you that the crisis within the party will be resolved soon.”

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Ayu should resign honourably —Bode George

Commenting on the crisis rocking the party, George, who addressed newsmen in Lagos, insisted that Ayu should honour his words by stepping down as national chairman of the party.

He, however, urged Governor Wike not to join APC, despite misgivings over the choice of Atiku’s running mate, saying “you don’t win all the time.”

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Heis words: “In democracy, we must talk and exchange ideas. We must agree and disagree without actually being disagreeable. Any organisation with human beings will always have issues but the ability to manage that crisis will be the determining factor.

READ ALSO: PDP Crisis: Party Leadership, Wike In standoff — Source

“I want to appeal to all sides to sheathe their swords. Nigerians are waiting for us and we must convince them that we can manage the resources of the country in an equitable manner.

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“They should all cease fire. Statements of arrogance and innuendos that can destroy the party should stop forthwith.

“Zoning has sustained our democracy for this long because it’s the concept that established our party.

“My plea is that all should cool temper because if we don’t get it right this time around, this nation will never forgive us. Nigerians are waiting for the PDP.”

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On 2023 general election, George said it was not yet uhuru.

While expressing worry over the security situation in the country, he said: “My fear is that if the insecurity continues, who will be bold enough to campaign or cast votes during election?

“These are serious issues we must consider. Are we thinking about it? It’s scary. How will people go out to vote on the day of election?”

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Tinubu, Peter Obi In Verbal War Over Fake News Allegations

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The presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his counterpart on the platform of Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, were yesterday locked in verbal war over the former’s accusation of the latter’s supporters of mudslinging and spreading fake news against other candidates, especially him, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Tinubu’s campaign organisation had called on the LP candidate to rein in his supporters, who it accused of spreading fake news about its candidate, but Obi’s camp in a swift reaction dismissed insinuations of his supporters spreading fake news about any candidate, saying it was in line with Tinubu camp’s plan to run a campaign based on issues.

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Tinubu in a statement by his Campaign Organization yesterday, had urged Obi to caution his supporters and allow the election circle be about issues that will advance the growth, progress and stability of Nigeria.

Director, Media and Communications at the Tinubu Campaign Organization, TCO, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, who signed the statement, also admonished the Labour Party presidential candidate to get his supporters to desist from spreading lies, malice and denigrating other candidates, especially Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

TCO further stated that “Nigeria will be better for it and the electoral process will be enriched if the 2023 presidential campaign sticks to issues of good governance that will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty rather than being dominated by the ravings of guttersnipes, who do not wish the country well,” the statement added.

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Onanuga noted that the TCO saw the need to appeal to Obi to rein in his supporters after investigating the origin of the fake report claiming that the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, wrote a letter to the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, asking him to support Peter Obi and take care of his health.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Elections: Peter Obi Group Sues INEC Over Voter Registration Halt

According to him, the Ghanaian president via his official Twitter account has vehemently debunked the fake news as a product of deliberate mischief, with the intent to deceive the public.

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“I have written no such letter to the APC leader, and it will not occur to me to do so. Ghana and Nigeria boast of decades of cordial, strong and brotherly relations, and I am not going to be the one to interfere in the internal affairs and politics of Nigeria,” the Ghanaian President had said via Twitter.

Continuing, Onanuga said: “We have found that the fake news about Akufo-Addo’s letter was first published on June 22 by a rogue platform, whose url reads as worlsnews.space (sic) and site identity as World of News.

“A content analysis of the site clearly showed that it is a Biafra news platform. The fake news was reposted on Facebook by Peter Obi Support Group, same day – a clear proof that Biafra campaigners and Peter Obi supporters are the same.

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“Both the Facebook account and the website are replete with fake stories about Bola Tinubu, including a fake story credited to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, alleging that Tinubu demanded N50billion monthly payment from him.

”The spuriousness of the statement is in the evidence that Lagos did not begin to clock N50billion revenue until after Ambode left office. Tinubu could not have demanded N50billion monthly payment from Ambode when the state government didn’t make such in a month throughout the tenure of Mr. Ambode.

“The pirate website, which the Facebook account feeds on, also parades malicious fake news and headlines such as ‘I am old, but my blood is young, please vote for me – Tinubu begs youth.’

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“There is also the most wicked of all headlines: ‘When I become president, I will build more prison (sic) for Igbos and IPOB members – Tinubu’.

“The big surprise in all of these is that all the headlines have no supporting stories, and clicking them may bring virus to your computer.

“We have come to a point where it becomes imperative to tell Mr. Obi to show leadership and disavow his supporters who are employing fake news and disinformation as deliberate tools to deceive and poison the minds of unsuspecting Nigerians.”

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But reacting to the allegations by the Tinubu Campaign Organisation yesterday, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, threw his weight behind the call by Tinubu for the campaign, whenever it starts, to be based on issues and not personality.

A statement signed by Obi’s Media Adviser, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, said the statement by the APC advising candidates to “desist from spreading lies, malice and denigrating other candidates,” exactly mirrored what Obi had propagated over the years.

He said if supporters were mindful of this, some articles published in some newspapers against Obi would not have been published, including those with offensive titles.

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On the alleged fake letter from the President of Ghana and the alleged request of N50 billion monthly payment, Obienyem said that while Obi was not bothered about their authenticity, it was wickedness to link them to his supporters, insisting that any publication from Obi’s group was always properly signed and the source clearly spelt out.

Obienyem, who also described as the height of mischief, the attempt to link Obi’s campaign to IPOB, said: “We know that things are not well in Nigeria.

We know of the agitations in different parts of the country, our principal has always said what he would do with such organizations to stop their agitation and bring them back to Nigeria as one happy family.

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READ ALSO: Peter Obi Reveals What He’ll Do If War Breaks Out In Nigeria

Instead of others saying what they will do, they are here creating more problems by trying vainly and wickedly to link their fellow contestants to some of those organisations.”

He expressed happiness that Nigerians knew the truth and that such gimmicks used to deceive them would no longer fly.

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Obienyem said that right from Obi’s position as governor of Anambra State, he was not known for the habit of attacking people or building lies against others, adding that his disposition was contrary to those of some of his opponents, whom, he said, actually originated most of those fake news, published them under false names and turned round to ascribe them to Obi or his supporters.

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